Don’t Let Fido and Frisky Bust the Budget


Got pets? Then you also have costs for everything from food to toys, grooming and perhaps even daycare from time to time. But that doesn’t mean your little friends need to break the bank to be happy. Today I want to share some great tips and tricks that readers have sent in that just might get you in the groove to save some dough. Woof!


NO-TIP WATER DISH. Use an old Bundt or angel food pan for your dog’s water bowl. Push a wooden stick through the hole in the middle of the pan into the ground to keep the pan from turning over. The pan can be lifted off for cleaning but the dog can’t tip it over.

SHREDDED PILLOWS. If you love for your large dogs to sleep in comfort but do not love the cost, maintenance and smell of the doggy beds, stuff old clean pillow cases (the ones with zippers) with shredded paper from your shredder. Once a week wash the pillow cases and refill with new shreddings. Now each dog has a plump and fresh pillow every week. They sleep in comfort and there are no doggy smells or costs involved.

RECYCLED BUCKETS. Are you sick of all the half-full bags of cat litter and pet food in the garage that get wet and turn into a soggy mess? A terrific solution is to go to your local grocery store and ask the bakery for their empty frosting buckets with lids. They are often happy to give them to you for free. Bring them home, thoroughly clean them, remove the labels and make new laminated labels or print clearly on the bucket. This will save you from having to throw out half-full bags of ruined pet supplies.

CHEAPER BY THE POUND. If you are shocked to find that a small two pound bag of pine shavings (to be used as bedding for small pets) costs $6, go to the local feed store and buy a bag of compressed horse bedding. It is the same pine shavings in a bag that weighs about 40 pounds, contains 3.5 cubic feet (compressed) and is enough to cover the floor of a 10 x 10 foot horse stall three inches deep. That ought to be enough to last your little fur baby forever. And the price? Around five bucks a bag (may vary from one area to the next).

GIVE ‘EM A SIGN. If your pet runs away, place a yard sign in front of your house with a photo of your missing dog or cat (bird, snake?) together with your phone number. People who find animals often will walk or drive around the area, trying to find the pet’s owner.

DIY TOYS. Toys from the pet store are ridiculously expensive and, in all honesty, are not always made very well. Go to the local hardware store and buy a huge rope. Cut it up in manageable lengths for your puppies to play with. This post from features 33 toys you can make from stuff you have around the house.

Question: Tell us about your pet(s)!

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7 replies
  1. Ann says:

    I use pine bedding for cat litter.
    It’s the very large compressed bales from W/M.for $7-$8 or so.
    Lasts me 9+ mo. Very low odor; don’t have to empty
    as often. Light wt .I looked this up for safety/health and didn’t find
    any problems. Also, to make a harness, you can get “Buckle & Slider”
    at W/M for about 60 cents for a two pack, if you
    buy them in the camping section, not the sewing
    notions dept.
    Then make your own collars/harnesses, but check your stitching from time to time, or just tie them. on. Over time, these have lasted longer than metal
    spring hooks.

    Matted hair: when you can’t get close enough because it is too close
    to the skin to trust scissors: use the sewing tool: a seam ripper. the ends are covered, the dog doesn’t shy
    away, you can get really close to the skin, yet you can see what you are doing; the inner part is razor sharp, but is never
    in any danger of coming in contact with the dog’s skin.. I used this
    recently and it worked. to remove matted hair behind my dogs ears.
    He never knew what was happening.


  2. jmmang says:

    We have 2 dogs and spend very little on dog toys. One of our dogs likes to tear up the stuffed toys, so we get stuffed animals at a thrift store. Most of the stuffed animals cost us .25 to $1.00 and the thrift store is run by the local animal shelter. So, not only are we saving money, we are helping out a worthy cause. Oh, we pull the eyes off before we give them to our dogs.

  3. Chad says:

    And don’t forget to save for those expenses on a monthly basis…even those expenses that don’t occur monthly. Estimate how much food, vet bills, medications, etc. will cost over the course of the year. Then divide that by 12 and save that money in a separate “pets” account. That way you have the money waiting when that $500 bill comes for your cat’s bladder infection!! 🙂


  4. Michelle says:

    Currently I have 3 dogs, two larger ones outside and a smaller guy inside. A few years ago I found at Pet Scence an automatic water dish. You hook it up to a garden hose and it has a float in it not unlike your toilet would. Best $30 bucks I ever spent! We have a 50lb feeder box out there as well as the water dish for them, we use shredded paper in their dog houses and they don’t kick it out (tried straw, pine straw, and ceder shavings but they kicked it all out). They love their kiddie pool! I do my own grooming and the vet lets me give them their shots (except rabies) and it’s cheaper that way, no appointment unless we do rabies, no appointment fee. For the inside guy, I use a plastic box with locking lid for his food and keep bottles of water (recycled bottles) near all his water dishes. I groom him as well and do his shots, too! He gets garlic liquigels daily for flea protection and I haven’t had a flea problem since starting with the garlic. Even found the garlic on sale at the Dollar General!

    • GaelicWench says:

      Are you aware that garlic in any form is a big NO-NO for cats and dogs? And from Dollar General, to boot?

      I refuse to sacrifice quality for cost. My 19 kitty rescues get the approved method of flea treatment; I save by buying on ebay where it costs much less than at a vet place.

      But goodonya for doing the maintenance care for your pets at home. I wish the claw clipping for my herd was easy, but unfortunately, avoiding shredded hands and arms takes precedence. I do provide treatment for minor issues, such as yeast infections in their ears. Not fun, but do-able.

      Please, avoid the garlic if you want to avoid expensive vet bills. ;-D

      • Michelle says:

        Thanks for the warning but I did research this very well before giving the garlic. In moderation it is fine to do this. It’s like the chocolate thing, most think it will kill fido, but, research shows it is the purest form of coco that creates problems and the chocolate chips you get in cookies or in the bag are ok, in moderation. I’m sure if fido ate the entire bag there could be some issues.

        On the nail trimming, I’d highly recommend getting a petipaw. It sands instead of clips. My gang and I HATE clipping but everybody will sit for the sanding. If you already have a roto zip, you could use that as well, but there I caution, with the guard on the petipaw, the sanding part will not catch hair like the unprotected roto zip will! Ouch!

  5. Sandra says:

    I have great vets who told me, “Let me teach you how to do this stuff, then you call only for emergencies.” So, for all my animals…dogs, cats, horses, sheep) I trim nails, de-worm, de-flea, bath, trim hair…essentially do all the maintenance my vet’s office used to do. It saves money,time, energy and when I call my vet, they know I actually need help.


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